Wednesday, June 6, 2007

How to reach the digital consumer ?

Do me a favor and do the following test tomorrow morning. Try to leave your place without any electronic gadget and especially your mobile phone. Difficult isn’t it ? . Try as well to remember the telephone number of your best friend, or your siblings…I would bet this is not as easy as you would imagine… Welcome one more time to the Digital Age, where our life depends on electronics…

We know that our society drastically changed over the past 40 years, moving from the Analog times to the Digital Age . From the tape to the MP3, the TV to the Plasma or LCD TV, from the camera to the embedded digital camera in your phone, from VCR to DVD, BlueRay, HDDVD, DVI, HDMI…… And the revolution is not over, we are just entering the Web2.0 and the Web 3.0 is almost ready…

On top of that, the traditional marketing approach is not working anymore. The society of conspicuous consumption from the 80s is over and branding perceptions have changed too . Have a look at the number of new raising brands from China, Korea and Taiwan and you will realize that consumer are more open to purchase a B brand type product versus an A brand product.

Most of us are using mobile phone and internet on a daily base. Do we really understand the implication it has on the consumer ? Do you know that more than 100 millions videos are downloaded every day from YouTube ! Should you need an information, forget about encyclopedia and old yellow page : Google it, Wikipedia it. Looking for friend ? just Linkedin it , Facebook it… Wanted to share information ? Space it, Technorati-it, Blog it...

How do we take those new parameters into account when we need to develop a new campaign for a new product ? Consumer is not isolated anymore. He is more connected, more mobile than ever.

There is definitively a tight interaction between technologies and consumer. Technology is adapting to us while we adapt to technology. Recently, an American survey even suggested that the dexterity of the teen’s thumb has increased compared to ours… ( I finally understand why my young brother is continuously beating me on video games…Honor is safe, this is not my fault, I am just an old school ‘thumb’ guy…) I know it seems weird, however, have a look how we SMS and compare it with teens and your parents. While our old man would proudly enter one letter a second with his index, kids will use their biotechnology thumbs programmed to directly connect to those small tiny keyboards….

Let’s face it, not only the technology has changed, but the consumer has evolved too. He is bombarded with information and we , as marketers, have a tendency to believe that he is more receptive because we can reach him differently, faster than before.

Well, that maybe the opposite. Do not overestimate the efficiency of using a simple digital campaign. Your consumer is more clever, more gifted, more educated and more skilled to avoid the traditional marketing traps.

A proper 360 marketing campaign should definitively include digital, and a mobile component if you want to increase its ROI. However, let’s go back to our basic and do not forget that our job is to answer consumer’s needs . Use technology as a media, a way to reach them and use it wisely. Do not overload your consumer with too much information, promotion or messages. Technology is not a mean by itself , it is just a new weapon to reach your digital consumer. You still need to target him properly and you should be even more accurate than before.

Gregory Birge

General Manager

Wunderman Asia Pacific

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